Regular readers of EcoGeek may recall the Flying Manta Ray Blimp we showed last fall. Now, from Festo, the same company that produced the Manta Ray, there's another flying vessel that uses propulsion methods based on sea creatures to move through the air. This one is based on a jellyfish, and the above video is very worth watching.
"The AirJelly steers through three-dimensional environments by shifting its weight. Its two servo motors are located at the “North pole” of the jellyfish and controlled proportionally. If the pendulum moves in one direction, the AirJelly’s centre of gravity shifts in this direction – the AirJelly is thus able to swim in any spatial direction."
In general, we are intrigued by biomimicry because it models natural processes, which tend to be highly energy efficient. A floating jellyfish isn't going to race through space at a record-setting speed, but it may move through the air using less energy than other methods. While these applications are more fanciful than leading to any immediate applications, there may be developments that come from these flying creatures that have practical applications in airships or other technologies in the future.
written by SolidApollo Team, March 28, 2011
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